Residents angry over decision to move Belmont's Anzac Day parade

A DECISION by the Belmont RSL Sub-Branch to change the location of the town's Anzac Day parade has caused a backlash within the community.

The march has been held on the Pacific Highway, Belmont, for the past 11 years.

However, growing crowds and heightened safety concerns have prompted the RSL to move this year's march to Walter Street.

Belmont South residents Val and Dorothy McEwan said they were "disgusted" when they heard the news.

They are founding members of the Clan McEwan Pipe Band, which has performed at Anzac Day ceremonies in Belmont since 1945.

With descendants who fought in World War I, Mrs McEwan said she felt the decision to move the parade demoted veterans to second-class citizens.

"They need to be treated with respect and march on the main street where everyone can see them," she said.

The McEwans said they were concerned the dozens of veterans who marched every year - most aged 75 or older - would have difficulty walking the new route, which is set on a steady incline and has several speed humps.

This year, the march will start from Coles' car park in Macquarie Street and finish with a ceremony at a new memorial in Cullen Park, opposite the Gunyah Hotel.

Belmont RSL Sub-Branch president Joe Hayes dismissed the McEwans concerns, saying the veterans would be able to join the march at High Street, where the road levelled out.

Mr Hayes said the decision, which was made in consultation with police after last year's 4500-strong turnout, was final.

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